March 27, 2003
AUSTIN, Texas - The University of Arizona men's swimming and diving squad qualified in 2 different events with a total of 5 athletes for the evening finals after Thursday's preliminaries from the Jamail Swim Center on the University of Texas campus. Arizona's 200y free relay squad garnered a spot in the championship final while the other 3 athletes or relays are set to compete in the consolation final.
The Wildcats began Thursday's preliminaries with an explosive swim of 1:18.51 in the 200y free style relay, beating the previous season best by nearly two seconds. Arizona's quartet of freshmen Lyndon Ferns and Simon Burnett and juniors Luis Rojas and Eric la Fleur qualified for the championship final in the fifth position despite being seeded 15th in the prelims.
After having no participants in the 500y free, the 'Cats boasted two swimmers in the preliminaries of the 200y IM. Junior Juan Veloz paved the way for Arizona with a season best time of 1:47.39 en route to a 17th place finish, one spot out of the consolation final. Senior Jeff Dash was not far behind in 26th place (1:48.44).
In the prelims of the penultimate event, the 50y free, 2 out of a possible 3 swimmers qualified for the consolation final. la Fleur dictated the pace with a new personal best time of 19.77, good enough for 12th. Ferns followed only a .01 behind in 14th place. Rojas rounded out the trio in 37th with his season apogee of 20.25.
Arizona's group of Burnett, junior Greg Owen and la fleur concluded Thursday's prelims by being disqualified in the 400y medley relay, their time of 3:11.38 would have placed them 6th in the championship final.
The Wildcats will rest in the afternoon before returning to competition later Thursday night at 7 pm (CST).
Day One Event Competitor Prelims Finals Place 200 Freestyle Relay Ferns (19.93), la Fleur (19.47) 1:18.51 Burnett (19.84), Rojas (19.27) 200 IM Juan Veloz 1:47.39 ------ 17th Jeff Dash 1:48.44 ------ 26th 50 Freestyle Eric la Fleur 19.77 Lyndon Ferns 19.78 Luis Rojas 20.25 ------ 37th 400y Medley Relay Burnett (47.67), Rojas (46.46) DQ Owen (54.43), la Fleur (DQ) 1-Meter Diving